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How to Grow a Gym Business in 2024 (10 Steps)

How to Grow a Gym Business in 2024 (10 Steps)

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) on June 19, 2023 — Updated on December 22, 2023

Learn how to grow a gym business with this detailed guide. From market research to financial management, we’ve got you covered to grow a profitable gym business.

Fitness Income Ideas

The gym industry has seen tremendous growth in the past decade, and there seems to be no sign of it slowing down. With more and more people becoming health-conscious, the demand for fitness services is only going up. According to IBISWorld’s market research report, the gym, health and fitness club industry revenue is projected to reach $37 billion by 2023. This means that starting a gym business can be a lucrative venture if done right.

However, with the rise in competition, it’s important to have a solid plan in place that sets your gym apart from others. That’s where this gym business growth guide comes in. Read on to learn the best way to grow a fitness gym and how you can utilize the best gym management software to manage and grow your gym business.

APEC
Exercise.com is simply the best. We were using three or four different apps or softwares to do what we can now do all in one with the Exercise.com platform.
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Founder and President, APEC Sports Performance

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#1 Develop a Solid Gym Business Plan

Before you start investing time and money into opening a gym business, learn these things you should know before opening a gym, because you need to have a clear roadmap of how you will achieve success. This is where having a solid gym business plan comes into play.

A business plan outlines the vision for your gym business, including financial projections and operational strategies. Not only does this give you clarity on what steps you need to take next, but it also helps secure funding from investors or lenders.

Your business plan should include details such as target demographics, competition analysis, marketing strategies and financial projections over the next three-to-five years. By having all these details outlined before launching your gym business will set yourself up for success.

#2 Create a Gym Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

In today’s competitive market, having just an ordinary gym won’t cut it. In fact most gyms look pretty much identical inside – treadmills here, weights there – so how will potential clients decide which one they want?

You need something unique that aligns with your customer’s needs. To get ahead of competitors , you need to have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

A USP is what sets your gym apart from others. For example, it could be offering unique amenities such as a sauna or juice bar, having 24/7 availability, or offering group fitness classes.

Having a unique selling proposition gives your gym business an edge over others and can help convert potential clients into members. Having established the importance of the gym industry and a solid business plan, we move on to market research that is crucial in identifying target demographics and their fitness needs.

#3 Conduct Gym Target Market Research

Identifying Target Demographics and Their Fitness Needs

If you want to grow a successful gym business, the first thing you should do is identify your target audience. You need to know who your gym is catering to before you even think about opening your doors. If you aren’t sure what target market is right for your gym, be sure to learn how to choose a target market for your gym business so that you can be laser focused with your gym marketing efforts.

Are you targeting young professionals? Stay-at-home moms?

Seniors looking for low-impact exercises? Once you have identified your target demographic, it’s time to figure out what their fitness needs are.

Do they want to lose weight? Build muscle?

Improve flexibility or endurance? It’s important to create a gym environment that caters to these specific needs.

But don’t limit yourself just yet! Keep in mind that people’s fitness goals change over time, so make sure your gym offers a variety of options for different stages of their fitness journey.

Analyzing Competition and Market Trends

Market research also involves analyzing your competitors and keeping up with market trends. You need to know what other gyms in the area are offering and how they are marketing themselves. Are they offering unique amenities or specialized training programs?

Don’t be afraid of competition though – it means there is demand for fitness services in the area! Use this knowledge to make informed decisions about what services and facilities will make your gym stand out from the rest.

Additionally, staying on top of market trends will ensure that your gym stays current with new ideas and innovations in the industry. Whether it’s incorporating virtual reality into workouts or partnering with wellness apps, keeping an eye on trends can help keep your business relevant and competitive.

In short, identifying target demographics along with their needs and desires, as well as analyzing competition along with market trends is essential if you want to open a successful gym business. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to provide unique experiences catered towards customer satisfaction while also standing out from the competition.

#4 Choose a Prime Gym Location

Barrys Bootcamp Gym Entrance Design
Source: Barry’s Bootcamp

Location, Location, Location: Factors to Consider When Selecting a Gym Location

Finding the perfect location for your gym is essential to its success. Your gym should be easily accessible, visible and have ample parking space. If your gym isn’t convenient for potential customers to get to, they will likely choose a competitor with a more convenient location.

You could have the best trainers in the world and top-of-the-line equipment but if people can’t find you or get there easily, it won’t matter. Accessibility means different things depending on where you are located.

A city center will require public transportation options, while a suburban location may need a lot of parking spaces. The accessibility of the location also depends on your target audience.

For example, if you are targeting retirees or an older crowd, you might want to consider opening up near health centers or retirement homes. Visibility is another essential factor when it comes to selecting a gym location.

When people drive by your building, they should know instantly that there is a fitness facility inside. You should make sure that your signs are clear and visible from all angles so that potential customers can easily locate you.

Negotiating Lease Agreements and Building Out the Space

Negotiating gym lease agreements when renting space for your gym can be challenging but necessary. Landlords always want higher rent prices than what’s reasonable so it’s up to you as the tenant to negotiate suitable terms.

Make sure that both parties agree on everything related to rent payments before signing any lease agreements. Once you’ve secured your lease agreement, it’s time to build out your space according to what services/products you plan on offering at this new location.

Building out space requires detailed planning and budgeting for all materials needed including flooring materials such as rubber mats or carpet squares if being installed over concrete floors; mirrors; soundproofing materials; locker rooms and showers for members; and much more. You’ll also need to consider the design of your gym.

The layout should be easy to navigate, with plenty of natural light and an inviting atmosphere. Make sure that equipment is spaced out accordingly, considering the needs of your target audience.

For example, if you’re targeting serious weightlifters, you will need more weight training machines than cardio machines. Location is everything when it comes to owning a gym.

You need to find a convenient location that is visible from all angles and has ample parking space while keeping in mind your target audience’s needs. Once you’ve secured the right spot, negotiating lease agreements and building out the space requires detailed planning and budgeting for everything necessary to make your gym stand out from competitors.

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#5 Select the Best Gym Equipment and Amenities

Gym Equipment Wall Rack Storage
Source: CYC Fitness

Choosing the Right Fitness Equipment for Your Gym Target Audience

When it comes to equipment, many gym owners make the mistake of trying to please everyone by cramming in as much equipment as possible. However, this strategy is doomed to fail. Instead, you should focus on providing equipment that fits your target audience’s needs.

For instance, if your gym caters to powerlifters, then you shouldn’t waste money on fancy cardio machines they won’t use. One thing I can’t stand is gyms that invest in a ton of flashy high-tech equipment just for show.

Sure, it might look cool and impress potential customers at first glance, but it doesn’t help people get fit. Instead of buying into gimmicky trends like vibrating dumbbells or whatever else the fitness industry is pushing these days, focus on investing in dependable basics that will last.

Offering Unique Amenities to Stand Out from Competitors (e.g. Sauna, Juice Bar)

It’s no secret that there are countless gyms out there all competing for the same customers. So how do you stand out from the crowd?

By offering unique amenities and perks that your competitors don’t have! One amenity that I always appreciate is a sauna or steam room.

Not only does it promote relaxation and aid in muscle recovery after a tough workout, but it can also be a selling point for customers looking for a spa-like experience in addition to their fitness routine. Another amenity worth considering is a juice bar or healthy snack station.

Not only does this give members an easy option for refueling post-workout, but it also helps foster community by providing a space where people can socialize and interact outside of just exercising together. Ultimately, when deciding which amenities to offer at your gym, consider what sets you apart from other gyms in your area and tailor your offerings accordingly.

#6 Hire Gym Staff and Implement Training

Hiring qualified personal trainers and fitness club support staff

One of the most important aspects of running a successful gym business is hiring qualified trainers and support staff. This can make or break your gym’s reputation, as members are paying not only for access to equipment but also for expert guidance in their fitness journeys. When hiring trainers, it is essential to prioritize qualifications over personality.

While a trainer with a friendly personality can be appealing, they must also have the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively train clients. Look for certifications such as NASM, ACE or ACSM that shows their commitment towards education.

Additionally, ensure that your support staff has experience in customer service roles. They should be able to handle member inquiries and complaints professionally and effectively.

Providing ongoing training opportunities to ensure quality service

Hiring qualified staff is only the first step in ensuring quality service at your gym. It is equally crucial to provide ongoing training opportunities for your team to keep them up-to-date on industry trends, new technologies, and best practices. Investing in regular professional development sessions or bringing in outside experts can help keep your team’s skills sharp and provide them with fresh ideas on how to better serve members’ needs.

Furthermore, providing continuing education opportunities helps keep employees engaged and invested in their work at your facility. It communicates that you value their growth as professionals while ensuring they stay motivated.

Staffing plays a critical role in the success of any gym business venture. Taking the time and effort to hire qualified trainers & support staffs while providing ongoing training opportunities will not only improve member satisfaction but will also drive revenue growth for years to come.

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#7 Launch Gym Marketing Strategies

Developing a Strong Gym Brand Identity

One of the most important aspects of growing a successful gym business is developing a strong brand identity. Your brand is what sets you apart from your competitors and makes your business unique.

A strong brand will not only attract potential customers but also help retain current members. So how do you develop a strong brand identity for your gym?

First and foremost, focus on creating a clear and consistent message that resonates with your target audience. Are you catering to hardcore fitness enthusiasts or everyday gym-goers?

Once you know your target audience, develop messaging that speaks to their needs and goals. This will help build trust and loyalty among members.

Another important aspect of building a strong brand is creating a visual identity that reflects your gym’s personality and values. This includes designing an appealing logo, selecting color schemes that evoke certain emotions, and choosing imagery that aligns with your messaging.

Utilizing Social Media Platforms to Reach Potential Customers

In today’s digital age, social media has become an essential tool for businesses looking to expand their reach and connect with potential customers. As such, it’s crucial for gym owners to have an active presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. To make the most out of social media marketing for gyms, it’s important to understand the unique strengths of each platform.

For example, Instagram is ideal for sharing visually appealing images/videos of workouts or healthy meals while Twitter might be better suited for quick updates or motivational messages. Regardless of which platforms you use, it’s important to keep content fresh and engaging by posting regularly (at least once per day) and using hashtags effectively to reach new audiences.

Hosting Events and Promotions to Attract New Members

Yet importantly hosting events can be an effective way to attract new members to your gym. For example, you can host a free introductory workout class for newcomers or offer discounted rates for new members signing up during a promotional period. Other ideas include partnering with local businesses to offer joint promotions or hosting charity events that bring the community together while raising awareness of your brand. Learn gym event ideas and how to find the best gym software with event management to get your creative juices going.

Ultimately, the key to successful event marketing is creativity, so don’t be afraid to take risks and think outside the box when planning your promotions. Whether it’s offering a unique incentive or partnering with a local influencer, finding ways to differentiate yourself will help you stand out in a crowded market.

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#8 Choose Gym Membership Options: Flexible Plans and Upselling

Flexible Membership Plans: Catering to Different Budgets and Fitness Goals

One of the biggest mistakes gym owners make is assuming that all members have the same fitness goals and budget. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

In order to truly grow your gym business, you need to offer flexible membership plans that cater to different budgets and fitness goals. For example, some members may only want access to cardio equipment while others may want access to a range of strength training equipment.

Some may be interested in attending group classes while others prefer working out alone. By offering a variety of membership plans, you can attract a wider range of customers and increase revenue streams.

It’s important to do market research before deciding on the types of memberships you offer. Look at your competition and see what they’re offering, but also consider taking it one step further by creating unique membership packages that set you apart from competitors.

Upselling Personal Training Sessions or Other Services

While flexible membership plans are important for attracting new members, upselling additional fitness services is critical for increasing revenue per member. One effective way to upsell is by offering personal training sessions.

Not only do personal trainers provide additional value for members by helping them achieve their fitness goals faster, but they also generate significant revenue for your business. You can also consider adding other services such as nutrition coaching or massage therapy sessions that appeal to your target demographics. Read more to learn how to market nutrition services at a gym.

These types of services not only provide an additional source of revenue but also increase member loyalty since they’re getting more value from their membership. However, it’s important not to oversell these services and make them feel like a constant sales pitch every time they enter the gym.

Members should always feel like these services are optional add-ons rather than mandatory purchases. Offering flexible membership plans and upselling additional services is critical for growing your gym business.

By catering to different budgets and fitness goals, you can attract a wider range of customers and increase revenue streams. Additionally, upselling additional services such as personal training or nutrition coaching provides additional value for members while generating significant revenue for your business.

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#9 Focus on Customer Retention

Creating a welcoming atmosphere for gym members

One of the most important aspects of running a successful gym business is creating an environment that makes members feel welcome and appreciated. A well-lit, clean and spacious space with modern equipment is simply not enough to keep members coming back. Members need to feel like they belong, like they are part of a community that values their presence.

To create this sense of community, gym owners need to invest in customer service training for staff. Staff should be friendly, knowledgeable and attentive to member needs.

They should greet every member by name when they enter the gym and inquire about their fitness goals or progress. They should also be available to answer questions or provide assistance as needed.

In addition, consider offering classes or events that promote social interaction among members. This could include group fitness classes such as yoga or boot camp, or special events such as charity runs or nutrition workshops.

Implementing loyalty programs or referral incentives

Loyalty programs and referral incentives are critical tools for retaining customers in the competitive gym industry. They reward members for their loyalty while also encouraging them to bring new business through referrals. Loyalty programs can take many forms – from rewards points that can be redeemed for merchandise or services, to free membership upgrades based on length of membership. Use the best gym software with loyalty program management and best gym software with referral management to streamline your gym’s loyalty and referral programs.

The key is making sure the program offers real value to members without breaking the bank. Referral incentives can also be effective if done properly.

For example, offer current members a free month’s membership if they refer a friend who signs up for at least three months. This not only incentivizes current members but also encourages them to spread positive word-of-mouth about your gym.

Ultimately, keeping customers engaged and invested in your gym requires ongoing effort and investment in customer service and loyalty programs. But the payoff – long-term retention of valuable customers – is well worth it.

#10 Implement Gym Financial Management

Budgeting for gym expenses such as rent, equipment maintenance, staffing costs

One of the most important aspects of running a successful gym business is budgeting properly. Without a solid financial plan in place, it’s easy to overspend and put your business at risk.

When creating a budget, it’s essential to factor in all expenses including rent, equipment maintenance and staffing costs. Firstly, let’s talk about rent.

Location is key when it comes to owning a gym. You want to be in an area that is accessible and visible to potential customers.

However, prime locations often come with high rental costs. Therefore, you need to factor in rent as part of your monthly expenses.

Make sure you have realistic projections for membership numbers so you can estimate how much revenue you’ll be bringing in each month. Secondly, equipment maintenance costs should also be included in your budget.

Gym equipment is expensive and when it breaks down or needs repairs, it could cost a lot of money depending on the severity of the problem. It’s important to invest in high-quality equipment that will last longer and require less maintenance over time.

Staffing costs are another expense that should not be overlooked when creating a budget for your gym business. The quality of trainers can make or break the success of your gym so investing in qualified trainers is key for ensuring customer satisfaction and retention.

Monitoring revenue streams through financial reports

Once you have created a well-thought-out budget plan, it’s crucial to monitor revenue streams through financial reports regularly. Monitoring financial reports allows you to track your progress towards reaching business goals such as profitability or growth. There are various reports that gyms should keep track of including income statements and cash flow statements which help track money coming into the business versus money going out of the business over time periods such as weekly or monthly periods.

Analyzing these reports allows you to identify areas where you can cut costs and optimize profitability. For example, if your gym is spending too much on marketing but not seeing a high return on investment, you can adjust your strategy to focus more on cost-effective methods.

Overall, having a solid financial management plan in place is essential for any gym business looking to succeed in the long term. By budgeting accurately and monitoring revenue streams through financial reports, you’ll be able to make informed decisions that will help grow your business over time.

How can I increase my gym profit?

To increase your gym profit, you can consider offering additional services like personal training and nutrition counseling, implementing value-added memberships with exclusive perks, optimizing your pricing structure, focusing on customer retention through exceptional service and loyalty programs, enhancing member engagement through Exercise.com’s gym management software, upselling products and merchandise, and maximizing facility usage through partnerships and rentals.

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How can I increase my gym clients?

To attract and retain more clients for your gym, you can implement targeted marketing campaigns using Exercise.com’s marketing tools, establish a strong online presence through a professional website and social media, leverage referral programs to encourage word-of-mouth referrals, form partnerships with local businesses to expand your reach, host open house events, utilize online advertising platforms, offer trial memberships or free introductory classes, and provide an exceptional member experience through Exercise.com’s gym management software.

How can I differentiate my gym from competitors?

To differentiate your gym from competitors, you can focus on offering unique services or programs, emphasizing your gym’s strengths or specialization, providing exceptional customer service, creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, and leveraging Exercise.com’s gym management software to deliver a personalized and seamless member experience.

How can I retain gym members and reduce churn?

To retain gym members and reduce churn, you can implement strategies such as offering personalized attention and support, providing ongoing motivation and goal tracking through Exercise.com’s platform, organizing member challenges or events to foster community engagement, continuously updating and diversifying your offerings to meet member needs, and regularly seeking and acting upon member feedback to improve their experience.

How can I effectively market my gym on a limited budget?

Even with a limited budget, you can effectively market your gym by utilizing cost-effective digital marketing strategies such as social media marketing, content marketing through a blog or YouTube channel, leveraging online directories and review platforms, implementing referral programs to incentivize word-of-mouth marketing, and leveraging Exercise.com’s marketing tools to target specific demographics and track campaign performance.

How can I leverage social media to promote my gym?

Social media can be a powerful tool to promote your gym. You can create engaging and shareable content, showcase member success stories, offer exclusive promotions or giveaways, collaborate with fitness influencers or local businesses, encourage user-generated content through challenges or contests, and use Exercise.com’s platform to streamline social media management and track engagement metrics.

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How can I expand my gym’s reach beyond the local community?

To expand your gym’s reach beyond the local community, you can leverage Exercise.com’s custom branded fitness apps to offer online workout programs for sale, nutrition services, or virtual training sessions, create engaging content on your website or blog that attracts a broader audience, partner with fitness influencers or brands to reach their followers, and utilize online advertising to target specific demographics or geographic areas outside your local market.

How can Exercise.com help me grow my gym business?

Exercise.com’s gym management software can help you grow your gym business by streamlining operations, automating administrative tasks, membership management, scheduling, and billing. It also enhances the member experience through personalized communication, targeted marketing campaigns, and goal tracking. With Exercise.com’s platform, you can engage with your members, offer specialized services, sell products and merchandise, and foster a sense of community through custom branded fitness apps. Overall, Exercise.com provides the tools and features to help you optimize your operations, attract and retain clients, and drive the growth of your gym business.

Get Started Growing a Gym Business

Growing a gym business is not an easy feat, but with hard work and dedication it’s definitely possible. There are many factors to consider, from identifying your target audience and location, to selecting the right equipment and staff.

However, by following these key points outlined above you’ll be well on your way to creating a thriving gym business.

Market research is crucial when starting any business, but especially for gyms. It’s important to understand the demographics of your target audience and their fitness needs in order to provide them with the best service possible.

Additionally, analyzing competition and market trends will help you stay ahead of the game. Location is also essential in creating a successful gym business.

Accessibility, visibility, parking – these are all factors that potential customers will consider when choosing a gym. Negotiating lease agreements and building out the space can also be costly – so it’s important to budget accordingly.

Equipment selection should be based on your target audience as well as any unique amenities you’re offering. Providing high-quality training staff will also set your gym apart from competitors.

Ongoing training opportunities for staff members will ensure that they are able to provide quality service for members. Marketing strategies can make or break a gym business – having a strong brand identity through social media platforms and hosting events/promotions can attract new members.

Offering flexible membership plans while upselling personal training sessions or other services will also generate revenue streams. Customer retention is essential in keeping members coming back – creating a welcoming atmosphere and implementing loyalty programs/referral incentives can help foster long-term relationships between members and gym staff.

Overall, growing a successful gym business requires passion for fitness as well as strategic planning skills. By following these key points I’ve outlined above you’ll be on track towards building a thriving community of fitness enthusiasts at your very own gym!

Overhead Squat FMS
“We went live with our Fitness Business Management software at four locations. Everything is working great. The import and export are easy and the guys are really liking the look and convenience of the platform. From both my side and the user side the platform has exceeded our expectations.”
Mike Contreras
Founder & CEO, FMS HS

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Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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